New Customer Welcome Programs
By Shari Altman
Five ways to make new buyers feel appreciated—and more apt to buy from you again
Consider yourself as a consumer or business customer making your first purchase from a new vendor, supplier, catalog, store or Web site. You overcame the innate risk of buying from a firm you've never dealt with before—risk that the product will be in stock and appear as expected, risk that what you are purchasing will deliver the value anticipated when you decided to plunk down your own (or your firm's) cold, hard cash. Don't you want to be welcomed and recognized, and know that your business with this new company is appreciated?
Your customers desire no less. But many direct marketers don't even include a thank-you letter after the first customer purchase, let alone a more elaborate offer. Having spent so much money to acquire your new customer, it is distressing to me that so few marketers are willing to take the next logical step by devoting the time to formally say thank you and welcome that new customer into the fold.
Excuses range from, "I just never thought about it," to, "Our retention rate is good, so I didn't think we needed a special welcome." But that's the point—it's a part of the process that is not required, but because it's not necessary it's almost always noticed and paid attention to by customers.
Think of customer welcome/thank-you letters as inexpensive public relations. Everyone likes to be appreciated, and your welcome/thank-you letter puts a positive face on your company to each new customer. Who wouldn't want to make a purchase with a company that appreciates her, as opposed to one that takes her for granted?
Of all the direct marketers I've worked with, continuity marketers most consistently include new customer welcome/thank-you letters and other new customer material, bonus gifts and offers. This makes sense for two reasons: